Louis Lorch, 88-years-old and his wife of 67 years, Hope were sound asleep in their April Sound home of twenty-seven years when close to 5a, they heard a noise. Then more noise and an alarm that Hope Lorch first thought was an Amber Alert on her phone. It was then they started to hear the electronic voice of their smoke detector telling them to evacuate and there was a fire. They both rushed down the smoke filled hallway to the living room. There they were met with a seven foot wall of flames coming from their couch.
Louis threw several wet towels onto the burning couch as his wife was on the phone with 911. The 911 operators were frantically telling them to exit the home. Lorch finally realized they were not making progress and left the home.
Lake Conroe Fire Department arrived seven minutes after the initial call. As they arrived fire erupted out the front window over the front door and then immediately blew the rear windows out. The heat was so intense that it melted the blinds in the bedroom and melted the smoke alarms right off the ceiling.
Hope said she had been up reading and had heated a pack in the microwave for her back. it wasn’t electric but was a heat pack. She left it on the couch after she used it for awhile while reading. About 4 am she went to bed.
Kevin Bates with the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office spent the day digging the area around the origin of the fire looking for a cause. He doesn’t believe the hot pack was the culprit. His investigation will continue.
Bates did stress how the smoke alarms saved this couple. He said after three fire fire fatalities in the county this month where there were no smoke detectors, a home with detectors saved a family.
Lorch said he changes his batteries on a regular basis on the two smoke alarms in the house.